It may only be a mere fortnight (and a bit) into this brand spanking new year, but our favourite musicians haven’t been resting on their laurels - no sir! Leaping into 2019 with a spring in their step, we’ve a host of new tracks already clamouring for attention and more than worthy of getting it.
Ahead of the release of her hugely-anticipated debut ‘Sucker Punch’ this March, Norwegian popstar Sigrid is back with another defiant banger, while The Killers have served up a timely, political stand-alone track with ‘Land of the Free’. Little Simz is kicking off the campaign for forthcoming LP ‘Grey Area’ on ‘Selfish’; The Japanese House is aiming for the big leagues on ‘Maybe You’re The Reason’; Loyle Carner is back and still loving his mum on ‘You Don’t Know’ and there’s a much-applauded return from Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes.
For our verdicts on all of this week’s biggest and most exciting tracks, all you need to do is scroll down. And if you’re itching to check out everything else out this week, step this way for DIY’s Listening Hub, and our Essential Playlist.
Sigrid - Don’t Feel Like Crying
Sigrid’s greatest power has always come from fist-pumping emotion. From debut single ‘Don’t Kill My Vibe’ through uber-smash ‘Strangers’ and most recent cut ‘Sucker Punch’, the Norwegian pop star has used aggression and forcefulness to hammer her point home. On new song ‘Don’t Feel Like Crying’, though, she channels pure pop heaven. Documenting the process of a breakup, the singer decides she’s done with takeaways and tissues on the sofa and instead heads out for a large one. The song comes with buckets of personality, helped by a euphoric chorus that’ll be infesting the airwaves in the blink of an eye. Some more of these in the locker and Sigrid will be arena-bound. (Will Richards)
The Killers - Land of the Free
It’s a tricky thing, trying to write a truly meaningful, state-of-the-nation song. You’ve got to take it seriously, because lord knows the modern world isn’t really much to laugh about. But on the other hand, earnestness can sometimes just be a little bit, well, cringe?
On ‘Land of the Free’ - a track directly addressing gun crime, race relations and the general political state of America and one that Brandon Flowers states he’s been umming and ahhing over writing for a while now - The Killers deal with this issue by going for it all guns blazing. There’s no questioning as to what it’s about, or what Brandon’s thoughts are on the matter, its a ‘call a spade a spade’ kind of affair (“When I go out in my car, I don’t think twice/ But if you’re the wrong colour skin/You grow up looking over both your shoulders,” he sings).
Does it work? In a Band Aid kind of a way. Would you listen to it while getting ready for a night out? Maybe not. But hey - in times like these, anyone with a high platform making the right kind of noise can only be positive, so for that, Brandon - good on ya. (Lisa Wright)
The Japanese House - Maybe You’re The Reason
There have been a few notable moments in The Japanese House’s fledgling career that have seen Amber Bain crash through to another level. First up was ‘Face Like Thunder’ from her third EP ‘Swim Against The Tide’, which proved she could write a belter of a chorus. Then, ‘Saw You In A Dream’ from her following EP of the same name was as much of a eureka moment. Her biggest step forward , however, might be on new song ‘Maybe You’re The Reason’.
On ‘Follow My Girl’, the most recent preview of debut album ‘Good At Falling’, Amber showed an overwhelming musical confidence, and that’s only furthered her latest offering. Surging immediately into a silky chorus full of ideas and production quirks, the track is the most immediate thing The Japanese House has ever put to tape, and takes her firmly out of the realm of introverted bedroom producer and into something approaching a rockstar. (Will Richards)
Loyle Carner - You Don’t Know
Following on from previous single ‘Ottolenghi’, Loyle Carner’s new track ‘You Don’t Know’ captures the feeling of being young and losing faith in love, complete with appearances from Rebel Kleff and Kiko Bun and a video starring his very own mum, Jean (!). Like any Loyle Carner track, the whole thing feels smooth and effortless and, being the second new standalone single he’s shared since Mercury-nominated debut ‘Yesterday’s Gone’ came out in 2017, we sense a new album could be heading our way very, very soon. (Rachel Finn)
Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes - Crowbar
With his last album ‘Modern Ruin’, Frank Carter – and his Rattlesnakes – proved he was just as capable of making an impact through melody and nuance as he has previously been with slick guitars and raw vocals. On his latest offering ‘Crowbar’, he seems comfortable using both to his advantage. Never one to let the politicians get away with it, a rabble-rousing chorus soon moves aside for his taut, frustrated message of defiance - “It’s easier for them to put you in a box / Keep you safely locked away because they hate it when the boat’s rocked” - which feels particularly electrifying for a time like now. (Sarah Jamieson)
Little Simz - Selfish
Released alongside the announcement of third album ‘Grey Area’ (due in March) this week, new track ‘Selfish’ finds Little Simz on cerebral form. Enlisting the vocals of West London singer-songwriter Cleo Sol on the track’s dream-like chorus, ‘Selfish’ melds the rapper’s talent for slick, sophisticated songwriting with Cleo’s soulful vocals for a more contemplative cut than some of the London star’s more recent offerings. Judging by her latest move, it looks like Little Simz’ ‘Grey Area’ might be her boldest album yet. (Rachel Finn)